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DAILY NEWS: Foreign Oscar Hopefuls; New This Week; “Fat Girl” Banned

DAILY NEWS: Foreign Oscar Hopefuls; New This Week; "Fat Girl" Banned

DAILY NEWS: Foreign Oscar Hopefuls; New This Week; "Fat Girl" Banned

by Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE

>> Foreign Language Films Vie for Oscar

(indieWIRE/11.21.01) — Fifty-one countries will compete for the five
coveted spots in the category of Best Foreign Language film of 2001,
according to an announcement released by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts
and Sciences AMPAS)
. The largest number of films ever entered for
consideration, up five from last year’s 46, this year’s selection includes
entries from Armenia (“Slogans“), Kyrgyzstan (“The Chimp“), Tanzania
(“Maangamizi“) and Uruguay (“In This Tricky Life“) for the first time.

Top contenders in the list of 51 include: “Dark Blue World” (Czech Republic)
from Jan Sverak, winner of the foreign language Oscar in 1997 for “Kolya,” renowned director Barbet Schroeder‘s “Our Lady Of The Assassins” (Columbia), Michael Haneke‘s Cannes acting prizewinner “The Piano Teacher” (Austria), Zacharias Kunuk‘s Cannes Camera d’Or champ “Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner” (Canada), and Danis Tanovic‘s festival favorite “No Man’s Land” (the second movie from Bosnia & Herzegovina to be submitted to the category). Also in the mix are four films likely to reap the benefits of a Miramax marketing push, Jean-Pierre Jeunet‘s “Amelie” (France), Lone Scherfig‘s “Italian For Beginners” (Denmark), Nanni Moretti‘s “The Son’s Room” (Italy) and Majid Majidi‘s “Baran” (Iran).

A couple of acclaimed foreign Oscar hopefuls coming to theaters in 2002 were
surprisingly overlooked: Mexico chose Maryse Sistach‘s “Violet Perfume” over Alfonso Cuaron‘s fall film festival favorite “Y Tu Mama Tambien” (an IFC Films release) and India picked Ashutosh Gowariker‘s “Lagaan” over Mira Nair‘s Venice Golden Lion winner “Monsoon Wedding” (USA Films).

Selected films do not necessarily need to have been released in the U.S. and
are chosen by juries from each country. The Foreign Language Film Award
Committee will screen all entries, beginning November 28, before voting to
nominate five, according to Awards Coordinator Patrick Stockstill.
Nominations will be announced at the Academy on Tuesday, February 12, 2002.
[Anthony Kaufman]

Complete list of Foreign Language Film submissions:

  • Albania, “Slogans,” directed by Gjergj Xhuvani
  • Algeria, “Inch’Allah Dimanche,” directed by Yamina Benguigui
  • Argentina, “Son Of The Bride,” directed by Juan Jose Campanella
  • Armenia, “Symphony Of Silence,” directed by Vigen Chaldranian
  • Australia, “La Spagnola,” directed by Steve Jacobs
  • Austria, “The Piano Teacher,” directed by Michael Haneke
  • Belgium, “Pauline & Paulette,” directed by Lieven Debrauwer
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina, “No Man’s Land,” directed by Danis Tanovic
  • Brazil, “Behind The Sun,” directed by Walter Salles
  • Bulgaria, “Fate As A Rat,” directed by Ivan Pavlov
  • Canada, “Atanarjuat,” directed by Zacharias Kunuk
  • Chile, “A Cab For Three,” directed by Orlando Lubbert
  • Colombia, “Our Lady Of The Assassins,” directed by Barbet Schroeder
  • Croatia, “Queen Of The Night,” directed by Branko Schmidt
  • Czech Republic, “Dark Blue World,” directed by Jan Sverak
  • Denmark, “Italian For Beginners,” directed by Lone Scherfig
  • Estonia, “The Heart Of The Bear,” directed by Arvo Iho
  • Finland, “The River,” directed by Jarmo Lampela
  • France, “Amelie,” directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  • Georgia, “The Migration Of The Angel,” directed by Nodar Managadze
  • Germany, “The Experiment,” directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel
  • Greece, “In Good Company,” directed by Nikos Zapatinas
  • Hong Kong, “Fulltime Killer,” directed by Johnnie To & Wai Ka Fai
  • Hungary, “Abandoned,” directed by Arpad Sopsits
  • Iceland, “The Seagull’s Laughter,” directed by Agust Gudmundsson
  • India, “Lagaan,” directed by Ashutosh Gowariker
  • Iran, “Baran,” directed by Majid Majidi
  • Israel, “Late Marriage,” directed by Dover Kosahvili
  • Italy, “The Son’s Room,” directed by Nanni Moretti
  • Japan, “Go,” directed by Isao Yukisada
  • Kyrgyzstan, “The Chimp,” directed by Aktan Abdykalykov
  • Mexico, “Perfume De Violetas,” directed by Maryse Sistach
  • Netherlands, “Nynke,” directed by Pieter Verhoeff
  • Norway, “Elling,” directed by Petter Naess
  • Philippines, “In The Bosom Of The Enemy,” directed by Gil M. Portes
  • Poland, “Quo Vadis,” directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz
  • Portugal, “Camarate,” directed by Luis Filipe Rocha
  • Puerto Rico, “12 Hours,” directed by Raul Marchand-Sanchez
  • Russia, “The Romanovs: An Imperial Family,” directed by Gleb Panfilov
  • Slovenia, “Bread And Milk,” directed by Jan Cvitkovic
  • Spain, “Mad Love,” directed by Vicente Aranda
  • Sweden, “Jalla! Jalla!,” directed by Josef Fares
  • Switzerland, “In Praise Of Love,” directed by Jean-Luc Godard
  • Taiwan, “The Cabbie,” directed by Zhang Huakun & Chen Yiwen
  • Tanzania, “Maangamizi,” directed by Martin Mhando & Ron Mulvihill
  • Thailand, “The Moonhunter,” directed by Bhandit Rittakol
  • Turkey, “Buyuk Adam Kucuk Ask / Hejar,” directed by Handan Ipekca
  • United Kingdom (Wales), “Do Not Go Gentle,” directed by Emlyn Williams
  • Uruguay, “In This Tricky Life,” directed by Beatriz Flores Silva
  • Venezuela, “A House With A View Of The Sea,” directed by Alberto Aruelo
  • Yugoslavia, “War Live,” directed by Darko Bajic

    >> NEW THIS WEEK: Turkey Weekend Indie Hybrids: “Bedroom,” “Backbone” and “Sidewalks”

    (indieWIRE/11.21.01) — This Thanksgiving weekend, there’s no better film to
    bring your family to than Todd Field‘s “In the Bedroom.” At first, the folks
    might give you grief: Grandma might not want a “serious” movie; your uncle
    may prefer “Spy Game.” But after that “Harry Potter” matinee and the tykes
    have been tucked in, do your best to convince the relatives that “In the
    Bedroom” is the film to see. Afterwards, they might be disturbed, but they
    won’t be disappointed.

    Probably the most solid first film to emerge from Sundance‘s Dramatic
    Competition in the last 5 years, “In the Bedroom” paints a finely hued
    psychological portrait of a New England family. The entire cast delivers
    first-rate performances and the film’s story is a stunner. At Sundance 2001,
    indieWIRE’s critic Patrick Z. McGavin wrote, “Todd Field has fashioned an
    invigorating and at times emotionally shattering debut feature. Field
    clearly has an affinity for actors but he also brings a perceptive balance
    and fluid grasp of the material.” Read the complete review at
    and our interview with Field in today’s indieWIRE, where he talks about the
    film’s sale to Miramax and his work with the actors.

    While we know some readers might wonder why we’re going to bat for a Miramax
    movie, just remember: a year ago the producers of “In the Bedroom” were
    waiting to hear if they would get into Sundance just like any other indie
    filmmaker. The distributor might not be independent, but the movie is.

    While Guillermo del Toro‘s “The Devil’s Backbone,” opening today, comes from Sony Pictures Classics, it also feels like some hybrid between an
    independent and a studio picture. At Toronto 2001, this writer declared the
    movie to be “a glossy, accessible horror-thriller that seems almost too big
    to fit the shoes of a specialized company….If ‘Backbone’ had Nicole Kidman
    (e.g. Alejandro Amenabar‘s ‘The Others‘) and were in English, it probably
    would have fallen into the hands of a larger studio. No matter, del Toro’s
    return to Spanish language cinema, produced in part by Pedro Almodovar‘s
    company El Deseo, is a spine-tingling, well-conceived drama about a ghost
    lurking in a makeshift orphanage during the Spanish Civil War. Look for our
    interview with del Toro in next week’s indieWIRE.

    And then there’s Ed Burns. If ever there was a director who blurred
    independent and Hollywood boundaries, it’s Mr. Burns. Paramount Classics
    releases his latest film “Sidewalks of New York” today, a pat relationship
    roundelay, starring himself (of course), Heather Graham, David Krumholtz,
    Brittany Murphy, Rosario Dawson, and Stanley Tucci. Originally set for release in September, “Sidewalks” was one of many pictures that ran scared
    after the terrorist attacks. While the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center
    still appear in the film, so, too, unfortunately does Burn’s vacuousness.

    Foreign indies, tried and true, will also see screen-time this week. On
    Friday, First Look Pictures unveils “Bangkok Dangerous” in New York and
    L.A., an arty thriller from Thailand’s first-time directing twin-brother
    team, Oxide and Danny Pang. Winner of the FIPRESCI critics prize at Toronto 2000, the film follows the exploits of a deaf-mute hit man and his partner
    in crime as they commit murder amidst Bangkok’s underworld, that is, until
    true love offers the young killer salvation.

    Notably, “Dangerous” comes from up-and-coming Thai production company, Film
    , the same one responsible for that other Thai breakthrough, the
    kitschy western “Tears of the Black Tiger” from director Wisit Sasanatieng
    (a movie remains without a release date from Miramax). Also in the company’s
    slate, historical war blockbuster “Bang Rajan,” which premiered at Toronto
    2001, and gangster teen picture “Goal Club.” Offering Hong Kong a run for
    their money, Film Bangkok’s library gives hope to a budding Thai film

    Italian writer-director Gianni Amelio, known for his popular 1994 film
    Lamerica,” is one of the big hopes of Italy’s own film renaissance. His
    latest, “The Way We Laughed,” which opens today at New York’s Film Forum from New Yorker Films, won the Golden Lion at the 1998 Venice Film Festival. Taking place from 1958 to 1964, the story follows two Sicilian brothers
    living in Turin and the economic changes they faced during the post-war period.

    Another Italian production, “Jung: in the Land of the Mujaheddin,” by the
    Italian directing team of Fabrizio Lazzaretti, Giuseppe Petitto and Alberto Vendemmiati, looks away from their homeland and towards the economic
    struggles and general hardships of life in northern Afghanistan. Made
    topical by current events, the award-winning documentary (which received
    Human Rights Watch‘s Nestor Almendros Prize for courage and commitment in human rights filmmaking) will play at New York’s Cinema Village theater on Friday through Karousel Films. Direct from Kabul (and Rome), the filmmakers spoke to us about their work, shooting digital, editing 160 hours of
    footage, and evading landmines; the interview will appear in indieWIRE next

    A final note about this column: After last’s week edition (wherein we
    trashed “The Fluffer,” “Novocaine,” and “The Wash“), indieWIRE received some disapproving comments about lacking objectivity and relying on a Variety review to state our opinion. For the record, New This Week relies on this
    writer’s viewpoint first, and other regular indieWIRE contributors second —
    a subjective process through and through. If we have not seen a particular
    film, we will look to other publications whose reviews we respect and who
    have a considerable amount of power in terms of establishing a film’s
    reception, like Variety or The New York Times. If we ever thought that Todd
    or Elvis Mitchell were off base, don’t worry: we’d make that clear.
    [Anthony Kaufman]

    >> “Fat Girl” Loses Appeal in Ontario

    (indieWIRE/11.21.01) — It’s official: Catherine Breillat‘s “Fat Girl,”
    currently playing in the U.S., has been effectively banned in Ontario, after
    losing its final appeal to the Ontario Film Review Board. On Tuesday,
    distributors Cowboy Pictures and Lions Gate Films issued a press release,
    stating that the review board had made its final judgment in a 3-2 ruling
    against the film.

    Several notable Canadians have come to the film’s defense. Director David
    , according to the release, accused the Board of applying its
    rules “mechanically and to the letter” and that the effect of their decision
    would “prevent any profound cinematic discussion of an entire field of human
    experience,” and Toronto Film Festival Director Piers Handling asked the
    board to “allow our community to make their own decision about this film.”
    [Anthony Kaufman]

    For more on the case, see indieWIRE’s November 14 report

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